News on Immigration Changes

Important Immigration Changes: Update on Executive Order

Parts of executive order suspended

On Friday, February 3rd, a U.S. District Court in Washington granted a nation-wide temporary restraining order (TRO) that prohibits the implementation of select sections of the executive order on immigration. This means that the temporary ban on visa issuance and entry for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen is at this time suspended. Visas revoked under the terms of the order have been reinstated, provided they were not physically cancelled by U.S. immigration authorities. We do not know how long the suspension of the entry ban will last, and we expect ongoing legal battles over the issue.

USCIS benefits under executive order

USCIS has confirmed that the agency will continue to process applications for immigration benefits and petitions, without taking into consideration the applicant’s country of citizenship. This means they will continue to process applications and petitions for OPT, Change of Status, H1B, Adjustment of Status, etc., including applicants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

ISSS Information on Executive Order

Details of U.S. President Trump’s executive order signed on Friday, 1/27/2017 contain several measures that directly affect international students and scholars in the United States.  ISSS is deeply troubled by the executive order and we care about the well-being of our international students and scholars. We are here to support you. It is very uncertain at this time how this and other executive orders will actually play out, and there are legal developments taking place, which could impact the outcomes. ISSS advising on the topic may change as more information comes in.

Impact on Students & Scholars from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen

  • Individuals from IranIraqLibyaSyriaSomaliaSudan and Yemen are restricted from entering the U.S. for 90 days while the government reviews the visa approval process.
  • Students, scholars and their accompanying dependents from these countries should not travel outside of the U.S. as they will not be able to reenter.
  • Individuals from IranIraqLibyaSyriaSomaliaSudan and Yemen will not be issued visas to enter the U.S. for the next 90 days. See information from the Department of State regarding visa applications from nationals of the countries listed above.
  • Unexpired visas for nationals of these countries have been provisionally revoked. If your visa is not physically cancelled then it may be used again if the visa is reinstated. If your visa has been physically cancelled (an immigration or consular officer marks it as cancelled) then it may not be used again. You will need to apply for a new visa, when eligible, for future entry to the U.S.
  • Terms of the order have been updated to waive lawful permanent residents and dual citizens who hold citizenship from a country not on this list, to be able to travel to the U.S. CBP has stated that admission decisions will be based on the country of the document presented to them. However, we would still encourage you to consult with an immigration attorney before traveling if you are an LPR or dual citizen of one of the designated countries.
  • If you are from one of the countries designated above and you must travel, please consult with an immigration attorney before traveling.
  • The Executive Order does not call for deportation of nonimmigrants and immigrants who are in the U.S.
  • If you are from one of the designated countries, you do not have to leave the United States based on this executive order.
  • It is very important to make sure that you maintain your current visa status.
  • F-1/J-1 students from these countries can still:
    • Work on campus incidental to status (up to 20 hours per week when school is in session)
    • Participate in Curricular Practical Training (for F-1 students) and/or Academic Training (J-1 students)
    • Extend your program of study, if eligible.
    • Transfer to another school to continue study, if eligible.

Impact on all Students & Scholars

  • The executive order eliminates the Visa Interview Waiver Program for all students/scholars traveling abroad.  This means that all students/scholars traveling and needing to renew their visas will need to schedule a consular interview.
  • Students and scholars who travel and must renew their visa should expect longer visa appointment wait times, and longer visa processing times. Please plan accordingly when arranging travel outside the U.S.
  • Students and scholars may expect increased security checks, visits to secondary inspection when traveling, etc.
  • There could be changes to U.S. visa application fees and duration of visa validity when you apply for a visa in the future.
  • Countries could be removed and added to the list for the future.
  • If you receive an email or letter from the Nonimmigrant Visa Division of a U.S. consulate with a message about a visa revocation, please see ISSS right away.
  • Report travel problems to DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP)

Information for UConn Faculty & Staff

UConn faculty and staff may have many questions about how the executive order will affect UConn students, scholars and staff. Please do not hesitate to refer your students to ISSS if your students have concerns about their particular situation.

Can we admit students who are from countries who are barred visa/entry under the terms of the executive order?  Yes. Admission decisions should be made without consideration to country of nationality. If you have international applicants or admitted students who are concerned about their ability to arrive in time for the start of their academic program, you may refer them to ISSS for further visa guidance.

How can we support our international students and scholars, both from the affected countries and in general?
At this time, international students may feel worry and anxiety about how they are perceived in the United States, and about their future ability to travel freely and meet their academic goals. Students may appreciate gestures that demonstrate they are valued at UConn.  We encourage staff and faculty to:

  • Attend events put on by UConn cultural-themed student groups, the UConn Cultural Centers and ISSS. Take time to talk to students at events.
  • Invite students and visiting scholars to participate in department activities and U.S. life.
  • Take note of the contributions of international students and scholars from the affected countries, and other countries, to your department and to the University in general.

How can we support students’ academic plans?
If your students will be traveling overseas during their academic program, they may face longer visa appointment wait times, and extended visa-processing times. If visa delays or a visa/entry bar prevents your student from arriving to UConn as expected, you may want to consider offering these students the opportunity to work on their degree study from outside the U.S., until they are able to return. Offering academic flexibility is the best way to support your students who find themselves in this situation. Please note: in order for students to maintain their active SEVIS status while outside the United States, they must be working on full time academic study. Students who are outside of the U.S. for more than five months may be required to start the I-20/visa process over from the beginning in order to return.

I have a student from a country subject to the visa/entry bar who will soon finish their program of study. What options do they have?

If an international student is ready to graduate, they cannot put off graduating to extend their student visa status.  If they will stay in the U.S. to pursue post-graduate training, they may still apply for OPT or a change of status to another appropriate visa type.  Students who are not ready to graduate may request an extension of their I-20/DS-2019 if there are unexpected academic or medical reasons that require the student to continue in their program. Remember that international students are required to study on a full time basis each semester. If they are in their final term of study and require less than full time registration to graduate, they may take a reduced course load for that term only.  Students who are ready to graduate also have the option to pursue a new program of study in the United States, provided they are admitted to the new program and request the new I-20/DS-2019 within 60 days after completing their UConn degree.

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